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December, 3, 2016

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No financial help from China: KMT

The China Post--The opposition Kuomintang (KMT) denied reports that the party had sought Beijing's assistance with the collection of political donations from Taiwanese enterprises operating on the mainland.

According to a local media report, high level officials from the KMT had sought the help of China's Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO) to mobilize overseas Taiwanese businesses interests for political donations.

During the party's weekly central standing committee, KMT Chairwoman Hung Hsiu-chu called the allegations "preposterous to biblical proportions" and "absolute hogwash."

KMT Culture and Communications Director Chou Chi-wei in denying the report stated that no high-level officials had communicated with the TAO, and that all political donations made to the party were in accordance with the Political Donations Act.

The allegation and denial comes as the party has seen its financial

moves scrutinized and blocked by the Cabinet's committee targeting ill-gotten party assets in recent months.

The Ill-Gotten Party Assets Settlement Committee (IGPASC) stated that the KMT could adjust existing expenditures to pay its workers and that it was the party's responsibility to deal with employee wages.

Should legal assets be insufficient, the KMT should make "truthful" applications concerning the halting of any asset freezes, IGPAC added.

IGPASC claimed earlier that the opposition party still has NT$85 million (approx. US$2.71 million) from past political contributions that could be used to pay its employees.

In response, the KMT called IGPASC's demands "unreasonable" and accused it of acting like a "political overlord." Chou stated there were currently no plans to submit an application to the IGPASC.

The KMT claims that its remaining party assets were derived from legal sources and that asset freezes prevent it from paying its workers.

The party added that Article 9 of the ill-gotten party assets law gave it the right to use its assets to pay workers' wages as a "performance of legal obligations."

KMT-affiliated city councilors of Taipei urged the municipality's labor department to intervene on the matter of party employee wages in accordance with the Labor Standards Act.

The city's labor department stated it had received a letter from the KMT on its current inability to pay workers but that there were no current plans to fine the party.

The party filed a court injunction to challenge IGPASC's decision to freeze its assets on Sept. 30.

Meanwhile, IGPAC says it is continuing to ascertain the deeds of 319 separate properties associated with the KMT and will conduct public hearings on Dec. 16. IGPASC said if deemed ill-gotten, the properties would be nationalized.

One public hearing conducted Oct 7 over the party's connection to Central Investment Corp. and Hsinyutai Co. did not reach a definitive conclusion on whether they are indeed KMT-affiliated institutions. Combined, the two firms have a net worth over NT$15 billion (US$476 million).

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